GM3196 - Maré de Ciência

Promoting child scientific literacy in Sines and Santiago do Cacém

Pillars of Gamma Community Platform: Educational Development, Community
Implementation time: up to 3 months
Project duration: 2 years
For the Community: The project aims to promote young people’s interest in science, inclusions of low-income students, fighting social inequalities


“Maré da Ciência” is a letter exchange project between scientists and students. The project “Maré de Ciência” aims to promote scientific literacy among youth in Sines and Santiago do Cacém, and will be developed by Cartas com Ciência, a non-profit organization that promotes dialogue between scientists and students from low-income communities in Portuguese-speaking countries. Maré da Ciência wants to reach out to students that have less access to science initiatives and are less likely to pursue higher education studies and scientific careers.

Using letter exchanges, the project aims to foster one-to-one and year-long conversations between students from Sines and Santiago do Cacém and scientists, to promote scientific and language literacy. Their mission is to make sure every student, regardless of their future career path, gets a chance to be involved in scientific discussions, learning about current challenges and priorities but also getting the opportunity to share their own view on scientific advances and questions that have yet to be studied and may relate to their communities.

This project aims at filling the gap between young people and science by:

  • Connecting underprivileged children with scientists with whom they share interests and language – we believe that, if students relate to scientists, this is a major first step in helping students develop a positive attitude towards science and consider research careers
  • Empowering scientists from Portuguese-speaking countries to establish meaningful interactions with children and teenagers
  • Helping break down stereotypes about scientists and low-income communities by promoting interest in education, science, and diversity.

Our project will reach students aged 8-18 from the municipalities of Sines and Santiago do Cacém. We will implement, run, monitor and assess four letter exchange programmes (two in 2023/2024 and two in 2024/2025) in collaboration with Agrupamento de Escolas de Santo André and with Associação Caboverdiana de Sines e Santiago do Cacém – IPSS (based in Sines). This association supports children and teenagers from socially vulnerable communities (namely Bairro Amílcar Cabral and Bairro da Floresta). Each letter exchange programme involves a group of 25-30 students, supervised by a teacher or a monitor, runs for one school year and includes three rounds of letter exchanges. Each program also includes training for teachers and scientists, and video calls. All students in each group will participate in the programme. Each student will be paired with a scientist. During the school year, students will exchange a total of 6 letters in 3 rounds with their scientist.